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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Senate Document No. 12

    Document Title
    Initiatives to Improve Virginia’s Solid Waste Program

    Department of Environmental Quality

    Enabling Authority
    Chapter 420 Enactment Clause 2. (Regular Session, 2011)

    Executive Summary
    This report is being provided to the General Assembly pursuant to Chapter 420 of the 2011 Acts of Assembly. Chapter 420 of the 2011 Acts of Assembly set forth the fee structure for facilities that manage solid waste and included a requirement that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) submit a report regarding its efforts to improve the solid waste program by December 1, 2011.

    DEQ’s Division of Land Protection and Revitalization (Division or DLPR) is responsible for administering Virginia’s Waste Management Act and associated regulations promulgated by the Waste Management Board. During calendar year 2011, the Division carried out a number of initiatives to improve the solid waste program. This report summarizes ongoing and planned improvements to the program.

    Throughout the course of managing enhancements to the solid waste program in the Commonwealth, the DLPR has integrated a significant amount of stakeholder input. Thus, all parties that may be impacted by change have had the opportunity to weigh in on the Department’s ideas and to make their own suggestions for change. DLPR leadership has embarked on a culture change within the Division that places primary importance on managing risk to human health and the environment, with less emphasis on doing things just “because that is the way we’ve always done them.” While such risk cannot be completely eliminated, there is an appropriate level of management that is relevant to implementing the solid waste program.

    Day-to-day solid waste program implementation occurs in DEQ’s six regional offices. This includes permitting, compliance inspections and groundwater data and remediation review. DPLR staff, in the Central Office, provide guidance development, workload tracking, consistency review and internal auditing. In an effort to address staffing shortages across the region, the DLPR has relied upon workload sharing across regional boundaries in all facets of its operations. Resource sharing is discussed further throughout the report.

    Consistency throughout all solid waste regulatory programs and across all DEQ regions is critical to successful and fiscally responsible protection of the environment. The DLPR has instituted an internal auditing program with a dedicated full time employee to audit all program areas. During 2011, the Division conducted an audit of the financial assurance and groundwater programs and is sharing these results with stakeholders. Where recommended areas for improvement are identified, implementation plans are being developed.

    This report is organized by functional program areas: permitting, compliance assessment and ground water monitoring/corrective action. Each program area includes a discussion regarding how DEQ is managing the risk, reducing redundancy while improving consistency, how timeframes are being improved and the manner in which the Department is soliciting stakeholder input.